Day 04 - Chios - Exploring the South of the Island

Chios Travel Blog

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The narrow streets of Pyrgi

Another day, another sleep in.  We had good intentions about getting out of bed early and going for a run – but it wasn’t to be.  When we did get out of bed we decided to jump straight on the scooter and head south, in search of the mastic villages and a black rock beach many people had told us all about. 

The ride was quite a long one and through landscapes which were a lot greener than the areas we’d ridden through the day before.  Being Easter Sunday, we passed loads of locals spit roasting lamb outside their homes along the way.  We’d avoided eating red meat for the last couple of days ourselves, so it had out stomach’s growling with hunger.

Funky Mosaics


The first stop was Pyrgi, a Mastic village famous for the way it has decorated its facades and the labyrinth-like layout.  Whilst most people we saw seemed happy to roast their lambs on spits outside their own houses, the people in this city had simply cooked great big bon fires straight out the front of the churches.  Since we arrived in the middle of the afternoon, we had missed the actual cook up – but you couldn’t miss the smoking ruins they’d left behind.  We were starving, so we didn’t stay long.  We jumped back on the scooter and headed to the coast to a port town called Emporio.  

Emporio is quite small but it had a one Taverna which was open for lunch.

An ideal place for a lamb roast .. out the front of your local church!
  It was only when we pulled up that we noticed how dramatically the fuel gauge had plunged.  It’d dropped from 2/3rds to near empty very, very quickly.  Oh well, we were hungry, so we could worry about that later.  Finally, red meat!!  Spit roasted lamb was on the menu, so we augmented that with some fried cod, an “easter salad” and a little local red wine. 

Before we left the taverna we quizzed the owner as to where we might find the nearest open petrol station.  He and his good wife called around a few nearby places for us, with no luck. All he could suggest is that we head back to Pyrgi. Although he knew that station was closed, we’d be able to check the roster on the window there.

Mish at Emporio Beach, where we stopped for lunch
  So, we headed back to Pyrgi but weren’t able to find the petrol station.  We contemplated wandering about the tight winding streets, but realised it was very unlikely that a station would be located inside the old town – and we couldn’t see it on the outskirts.  So, Mish pulled out the phrase book and tried to ask an old guy spraying weeds out the front of his house.  Mish managed to communicate our predicament – but he didn’t know which station was open, so he hailed over a large family walking past – and the next thing we knew we had about 15 people trying to help us.  None of them knew definitively, but a couple who spoke a bit of English advised us to try Armolia.  It was only 5kms and on the way back towards Chios, so probably all we could do in the circumstance.  We had enough fuel to make it but the station in this town was closed.
Finally enjoying the black volcanic rock beach, just as the sun is setting
  It had a roster though, in Greek AND English – beauty!!  It told us that the nearest station which was open was a mere 8km away.  A glance at the bottom of the tank indicated we had slightly more than the smell of an oily rag left – so off we went – fully expecting to have to push the bike at least part of the way.  Thankfully, our luck held out long enough for us to find the BP station which was open – and it took an enormous 4 litres to fill up the thirsty tank!!  

Sundown was still an hour or two away and we’d not yet found the black stone beach we’d been looking for, so we headed back the way we’d come in search of fuel – back towards Emporio beach, this time taking a right rather than a left, finding our way to a spectacular beach.  It didn’t have black volcanic stones but was still very impressive.  We were beginning to think that we’d never find the beach we were after but went back to our Lonely Planet one more time – and closely read the description as to how to get there.  Sure enough, when we bothered to read it properly, the guide was quite clear in its directions.  The beach was simply at the end of the road passing Emporio beach, less than 100m past where we’d stopped for lunch.  We made it to the beach as the sun was going down – barely enough light left to get some decent happy snaps of the place – but definitely to late to chance a swim in the cold waters.  Had we found it at lunchtime we might have given it a go.  Whilst the waters are still cold at this time of year, the black volcanic stones apparently retain loads of heat - making it a very pleasant a quick way to dry out and warm up after a dip.  Michelle volunteered to jump on the back seat of the scooter for the ride home and in the fading light I flogged the bike as hard as I could to get us home ASAP.  It was pitch black by the time we got home – but we got back in one piece and returned the scooter without a scratch.  Mish relaxed in our room for the rest of the night and I simply went for a wander into town, to check my email and think about getting some dinner.  Couldn’t be bothered though (lunch was both late and huge so I just packed it in early).

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The narrow streets of Pyrgi
The narrow streets of Pyrgi
Funky Mosaics
Funky Mosaics
An ideal place for a lamb roast ..…
An ideal place for a lamb roast .…
Mish at Emporio Beach, where we st…
Mish at Emporio Beach, where we s…
Finally enjoying the black volcani…
Finally enjoying the black volcan…
photo by: JP-NED